Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Tencent To Invest In Bona Film Privatization Deal


It is one of those rare instances when two of China’s biggest Internet companies, Alibaba and Tencent, join hands for the mutual benefit. The entertainment units of Alibaba and Tencent have joined the group that will take the Chinese film studio Bona Film private. The movie studio said Tuesday that it had settled on definitive terms of its delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Bona Film valued at $1 billion

In June, a group of investors including Mountain Tiger International, Uranus Connection and All Gain Ventures had offered to pay $13.70 per American depository receipts of Bona Film. The deal values the movie studio at $1 billion. Bona Film’s shares rose 1.80% on Tuesday to close at $13. The Jack Ma-led e-commerce giant said it would be investing $86 million through its Alibaba Pictures arm.

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Tencent, which is investing in Bona Film through its subsidiary Willow Investment, declined to disclose the financial terms. Beijing-based Bona Film was the backer of Hollywood blockbuster The Martian and 2013 Chinese movie The Grandmaster. After taking it private, Bona Film founder and CEO Dong Yu along with Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, and Fosun International, and others will roll over their holdings, owning about 62% of the company.

Alibaba, Tencent conquering media business

The Bona Film board has unanimously approved the deal, but it would still need approval from two-thirds of shareholders. The buyer group expects to close the deal in the second quarter of 2016. The group plans to fund the deal through equity financing worth $366 million and rollover financing worth $634 million. Alibaba and Tencent have been investing aggressively in media and entertainment businesses.

Last week, Alibaba acquired Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post for $266 million. In November, the e-commerce giant reached a deal to buy Youku Tudou, often hailed as China’s YouTube, for $4.8 billion. In August, Alibaba and Tencent teamed up with other companies to invest in Huayi Brothers Media Corp. Alibaba plans to produce content it can stream to viewers on their smartphones and PCs.

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